Bible Study Guides – Prophecy a Stabilizer

May 19-25, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” Daniel 12:10.

INTRODUCTION: The Bible characterizes the last days as a time of great unbelief: 2 Peter 3:3–7 says, Know this first, that there shall come in the last days mockers going according to their own lusts and saying where is the promise of His coming for from the time the fathers fell asleep all things continue as from the beginning of the creation. For they wish to forget that the heavens were of old time and the earth out of the water and through the water standing by the Word of God, the world that then was being deluged with water perished and the heavens and the earth now by the same word are reserved for fire kept unto the day of judgement and condemnation of ungodly men.” Eighteen hundred years ago, God through the Apostle Peter foretold here the age of unbelief that we are in today as a direct result of the theories of geology and evolution and higher criticism alluded to in this scripture.

1 What ability does God have that no creature or other intelligence possesses? Isaiah 46:9, 10.

2 How did God show His ability to tell the future to King Nebuchadnezzar? Daniel 2:1–13; 26–28.

3 Why is a knowledge of prophecy especially important in the last days? 1 Corinthians 1:4–8.

4 How does prophecy confirm faith in the existence of God and the validity of the Bible as His inspired Word? John 13:18, 19.

5 What special promise is given to those who live in the last days in regard to prophecy? Joel 2:28, 29; Malachi 4:5.

6 How has this special promise been fulfilled? See note.

NOTE: “After devoting three articles to the Biblical backgrounds and accounts of manifestations of the prophetic gift, Butler in the fourth article introduced Ellen White and her work and demonstrated how she was one on whom the mantle of the gift of prophecy was laid. From firsthand knowledge he wrote of the visions, which he described, and then of her ministry, with which he was personally acquainted. Strong evidence of the integrity of the gift as seen in her experience included the fulfillment of predictions, the knowledge of secret things opened to her, and how her work stood the tests of the claims of the prophet as set forth in the Bible, especially the one Christ gave, ‘By their fruits ye shall know them.’ He discussed the relation of her writings to the Scriptures.

“In his closing articles Butler observed: ‘We have tested them as a people for nearly a quarter of a century, and we find we prosper spiritually when we heed them, and suffer a great loss when we neglect them. We have found their guidance to be our safety. They never have led us into fanaticism in a single instance, but they have ever rebuked fanatical and unreasonable men. They everywhere direct us to the Scriptures as the great source of true instruction, and to the example of Jesus Christ as the true pattern. They never claim to be given to take the place of the Bible, but simply to be a manifestation of one of those spiritual gifts set in the church by its divine Lord; and as such, should have their proper weight.’” Ellen G. White: vol. 2, The Progressive Years, 1862–1876, vol. 2, by Arthur L. White, 424. 425.

Special Note: See the book Prophet of the End, by the editor of Harvestime Books, Altamont, TN, 37301 for a fuller investigation of this question.

7 What elementary prophecies of the Bible confirm that we are living in the last days of earth’s History? Matthew 24:29; Matthew 24:37–39 (Compare Genesis 6:1–5, 11); Luke 17:28–30 (Compare Ezekiel 16:49, 50); 2 Timothy 3:1–5, 13; James 5:1–8; Revelation 11:18; 2 Peter 3:3–7; Micah 4:1–6; Matthew 24:11–14.

8 Which two prophets spoke especially for the last days? Daniel 12:4; Revelation 22:10–12.

9 What does the Bible say about the dangerous conditions of the last days? 1 Timothy 4:1–6.

NOTE: “We are approaching the end of this earth’s history, and Satan is working as never before. He is striving to act as director of the Christian world. With an intensity that is marvelous he is working with his lying wonders. Satan is represented as walking about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He desires to embrace the whole world in his confederacy. Hiding his deformity under the garb of Christianity, he assumes the attributes of a Christian, and claims to be Christ Himself.—8MR, 346 (1901).” Last Day Events, 155.

“We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 122.

“The spirits of devils will yet appear to them [the saints], professing to be beloved friends and relatives, who will declare to them that the Sabbath has been changed, also other unscriptural doctrines.” Early Writings, 87.

“The apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictation of the Holy Spirit when on earth.” The Great Controversy, 557.

“There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 36.

“Some who were in the 1854 movement have brought along with them erroneous views. . . . They have an unmeaning gibberish which they call the unknown tongue, which is unknown not only by man but by the Lord and all heaven. Such gifts are manufactured by men and women, aided by the great deceiver. Fanaticism, false excitement, false talking in tongues, and noisy exercises have been considered gifts which God has placed in the church. Some have been deceived here.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 411, 412.

10 What special promise has been given for those who accept the gift of the Spirit of Prophecy for the last days? Revelation 12:17; Romans 9:27; 2 Chronicles 20:20.

NOTE: “As the points of our faith were thus established, our feet were placed upon a solid foundation. We accepted the truth point by point, under the demonstration of the Holy Spirit. I would be taken off in vision, and explanations would be given me. . . . All these truths are immortalized in my writings. The Lord never denies His word. Men may get up scheme after scheme, and the enemy will seek to seduce souls from the truth, but all who believe that the Lord has spoken through Sister White, and has given her a message, will be safe from the many delusions that will come in in these last days.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 320

11 What will eventually happen to those who reject or neglect the gift of prophecy? James 4:17; Matthew 25:33, 34, 41.

NOTE: “You are not familiar with the Scriptures. If you had made God’s word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies. It is because you have neglected to acquaint yourselves with God’s inspired Book that He has sought to reach you by simple, direct testimonies, calling your attention to the words of inspiration which you had neglected to obey, and urging you to fashion your lives in accordance with its pure and elevated teachings.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 665.

“‘It is Satan’s plan to weaken the faith of God’s people in the Testimonies.’ ‘Satan knows how to make his attacks. He works upon minds to excite jealousy and dissatisfaction toward those at the head of the work. The gifts are next questioned; then, of course, they have but little weight, and instruction given through vision is disregarded.’ ‘Next follows skepticism in regard to the vital points of our faith, the pillars of our position, then doubt as to the Holy Scriptures, and then the downward march to perdition. When the Testimonies, which were once believed, are doubted and given up, Satan knows the deceived ones will not stop at this; and he redoubles his efforts till he launches them into open rebellion, which becomes incurable and ends in destruction.’” Ibid., 672.

Bible Study Guides – The Scriptures a Safeguard

May 12-18, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:15–17.

INTRODUCTION: None of us can have a secure hope of being ready for Jesus to come, of being ready for that final redemption unless we become earnest students of the Bible. “Those who endeavor to obey all of the commandments of God . . . can stand only in God. In order to endure the trial before them, they must understand the will of God as revealed in His Word; they can honor Him only as they have a right conception of His character, government, and purposes, and act in accordance with them. None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict. To every soul will come the searching test: Shall I obey God rather than men? The decisive hour is even now at hand. Are our feet planted on the rock of God’s immutable word? Are we prepared to stand firm in defense of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus?” The Great Controversy, 593, 594.

1 How many people in this world will the devil and his angels deceive in the last days? Revelation 12:9. (See also Revelation 13:3, 14; 16:13, 14; 17:2, 15; 18:3, 23; 19:20.)

NOTE: “Heresies are now arising among the people of God, and they will continue to arise. As we near the end of time, falsehood will be so mingled with truth, that only those who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be able to distinguish truth from error. We need to make every effort to keep the way of the Lord. We must in no case turn from His guidance to put our trust in man. The Lord’s angels are appointed to keep strict watch over those who put their faith in the Lord, and these angels are to be our special help in every time of need. Every day we are to come to the Lord with full assurance of faith, and to look to Him for wisdom. The ministers who teach the truth for this time are to strengthen their hearts by studying the word of God. ‘It is the spirit that quickeneth,’ Christ said, ‘the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.’ (John 6:63).” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 359.

2 How may the devil’s deceptions be unmasked? Matthew 4:3, 4; Psalm 119:104.

NOTE: “The efficiency of the cross guards the redeemed race from the danger of a second fall. The life and death of Christ effectually unveils the deceptions of Satan, and refutes his claims. The sacrifice of Christ for a fallen world draws not only men, but angels, unto Him in bonds of indissoluble union.” Bible Echo, July 15, 1893.

“In the warfare ensuing, Satan for a time seemed to hold the advantage. He could lie; God could not lie. He could move in a thousand crooked and deceiving ways to gain a desired object; God must pursue the straightforward course of truth and righteousness. For a time Satan triumphed in an apparent victory. But God would unmask the enemy and reveal him in his true character. Christ, in taking the nature of man, was divinity clothed in humanity. He came as the light of the world, to shine upon and scatter the thick darkness of Satan’s deceptions and reveal his workings to the children of men. Christ practiced the most rigid self-denial in resisting the manifold temptations of the adversary. He conquered Satan in the long fast of the wilderness, and when he came to Him as an angel of light, offering the dominion of the world in exchange for His worship; He made sacrifices that will never be required of man, as man can never attain to His exalted character. His whole earthly life was a demonstration of perfect submission to His Father’s will. The course of Christ and that of Satan present the complete contrast of the life of an obedient with that of a disloyal son.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 77, 78.

3 Why is it that Christians are so often surprised into sin? Psalm 119:11, 105, 130.

NOTE: “Temptations often appear irresistible because, through neglect of prayer and the study of the Bible, the tempted one cannot readily remember God’s promises and meet Satan with the Scripture weapons. But angels are round about those who are willing to be taught in divine things; and in the time of great necessity they will bring to their remembrance the very truths which are needed. Thus ‘when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.’ Isaiah 59:19.” The Great Controversy, 600.

4 What has Jesus promised us for the hour of temptation? John 14:26; Matthew 10:19.

5 Which believers are promised deliverance from all sin and the power over sinful habit? John 8:30–36.

6 How does this promise of freedom from sin distinguish the children of God (the true church) from the children of the devil (the synagogue of Satan)? 1 John 3:4–10.

7 Does the Word of God contain sufficient instruction to bring the Christian to spiritual perfection? 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; 3:14.

8 Why is it not a good habit to be in a hurry when studying the Word of God? 1 Timothy 4:13–16.

NOTE: “As our physical life is sustained by food, so our spiritual life is sustained by the word of God. And every soul is to receive life from God’s Word for himself. As we must eat for ourselves in order to receive nourishment, so we must receive the Word for ourselves. We are not to obtain it merely through the medium of another’s mind. We should carefully study the Bible, asking God for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we may understand His word. We should take one verse, and concentrate the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us. We should dwell upon the thought until it becomes our own, and we know ‘what saith the Lord.’” The Desire of Ages, 390.

9 Which Christians will find themselves unable to understand the Word? John 8:43, 44. Compare Hosea 14:9.

NOTE: “They profess to be followers of Christ, but they do not know Him by an experimental knowledge. They do not practice religion. They do not seek to be Christians in the same way in which they would learn a trade. They profess to believe advanced truth; but it is evident that they keep it in the outer court; for it has no sanctifying power on life and character. They do not realize how much is at stake; for the salvation of their own souls and that of others is imperiled. They do not realize that in order to be a savor of life unto life they must be under spiritual discipline and training, learning in the school of Christ. Without this spiritual discipline, they become inefficient, ignorant, and undeveloped, and see no necessity for the spiritual training and knowledge which would qualify them to hold positions of influence and usefulness. If they do not consecrate themselves wholly to God, becoming learners in His school, they will do haphazard work that will result in injury to the church.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 255.

“The great educating book is the Bible, and yet it is little read or practiced. O that every individual would seek to make of himself all that he could, improving his opportunities to the very best of his ability, purposing to use every power which God has given him, not simply to advance his temporal affairs, but to advance his spiritual interests. O that all might search diligently to know what is truth, to study earnestly that they might have correct language and cultivated voices, that they might present the truth in all its elevated and ennobling beauty. . . . The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom; and when God is not depended upon, the result of education is only to elevate ungodliness.” Ibid., 256, 258.

10 Who does God promise to enable to understand His Word? James 1:5; John 16:13; Matthew 7:7, 8.

NOTE: “The more we look at the promises of the Word of God, the brighter they grow. The more we practice them, the deeper will be our understanding of them. Our position and faith is in the Bible. And never do we want any soul to bring in the Testimonies ahead of the Bible.—Manuscript 7, 1894.” Evangelism, 256.

“The Word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind, and may be understood by those who have any desire to understand it.” Ibid., . 256, 257.

“It is through the exercise of the faculty of faith that we are enabled to receive and practice the Word of God. No excuse can be accepted, no plea of justification received for the failure to know and understand the will of the Lord.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 341.

“The Holy Spirit has been given to us as an aid in the study of the Word.” Ibid., 433.

“We should search the Scriptures diligently in order that we may have an understanding of the claims that Christ has upon us, and that we may have right views of the truth. Our wills must be subdued, and brought into harmony with the will of God.” Lift Him Up, 238.

11 What symbol did Jesus use to show the indispensable nature of Bible Study? John 6:53, 58, 63.

NOTE: “In every command and in every promise of the Word of God is the power, the very life of God, by which the command may be fulfilled and the promise realized. He who by faith receives the word is receiving the very life and character of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 38.

“The great work to be done . . . is to win souls to Christ. Men must see Jesus on the cross, they must look and live. It is not your ideas they must feed upon, but it is the flesh and blood of the Son of God. He says, ‘My flesh is meat indeed’ (John 6:55).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 178.

12 What great treasure, that Adam and Eve lost in the Garden of Eden, is restored to those who study the Bible? Revelation 22:14.

NOTE: “The relation of the Word to the believer is a vital matter. Appropriating the Word to our spiritual necessities is the eating of the leaves of the tree of life that are for the healing of the nations. Study the Word, and practice the Word, for it is your life.”—Ellen G. White Letter 4, 1902.” Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 44.

“In His life on earth, Christ could have made disclosures which would have eclipsed and assigned to oblivion all human discoveries. He could have opened door after door to mysterious things, and many revelations of eternal realities would have been the sure result. He could have uttered words which would have been as a key to unlock mysteries that would have captivated the minds of generations to the close of time. But Christ does not open the numerous doors at which human curiosity has been striving to obtain entrance. He does not spread for men a feast that would prove deleterious to their highest interests. He came to plant for men, not the tree of knowledge, but the tree of life.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 33.

Bible Study Guides – The True Meaning of Sacrifice

May 5-11, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.” Psalm 50:3–5.

INTRODUCTION: “As a people we must practice self-denial and economy. Every soul should make a covenant with God by sacrifice. We should not expend money in extra expensive clothing, and rich furniture. We are pilgrims and strangers seeking a better country, even an heavenly. Time is short, and every dollar not necessary to be used in supplying positive wants, should be brought in as a thank offering to God.” Pastoral Ministry (1995), 244.

1 What did God ask Abraham to do? Genesis 22:2.

NOTE: “This act of faith in Abraham is recorded for our benefit. It teaches us the great lesson of confidence in the requirements of God, however close and cutting they may be; and it teaches children perfect submission to their parents and to God. By Abraham’s obedience we are taught that nothing is too precious for us to give to God.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1094.

2 What was the purpose and the result of Abraham’s obedience to God’s requirement? Genesis 22:15–18.

NOTE: “The offering of Isaac was designed by God to prefigure the sacrifice of His Son. Isaac was a figure of the Son of God, who was offered a sacrifice for the sins of the world. God desired to impress upon Abraham the gospel of salvation to men; and in order to make the truth a reality, and to test his faith, He required Abraham to slay his darling Isaac. All the agony that Abraham endured during that dark and fearful trial was for the purpose of deeply impressing upon his understanding the plan of redemption for fallen man.” Youth’s Instructor, March 1, 1900.

3 What ordinance of sacrifice was instituted when the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt? Exodus 12:5–13, 21–23, 26, 27.

NOTE: “The directions that Moses gave concerning the Passover feast are full of significance, and have an application to parents and children in this age of the world. . . .

“The father was to act as the priest of the household, and if the father was dead, the eldest son living was to perform this solemn act of sprinkling the doorpost with blood. This is a symbol of the work to be done in every family. Parents are to gather their children into the home and to present Christ before them as their Passover. The father is to dedicate every inmate of his home to God and to do a work that is represented by the feast of the Passover. It is perilous to leave this solemn duty in the hands of others.

“Let Christian parents resolve that they will be loyal to God, and let them gather their children into their homes with them and strike the doorpost with blood, representing Christ as the only One who can shield and save, that the destroying angel may pass over the cherished circle of the household. Let the world see that a more than human influence is at work in the home. Let parents maintain a vital connection with God, set themselves on Christ’s side, and show by His grace what great good may be accomplished through parental agency.” The Adventist Home, 324, 325.

4 What was the result of the children of Israel’s obedience? Exodus 12:30–32.

NOTE: “From the most terrible peril one night had brought complete deliverance. That vast, helpless throng—bondmen unused to battle, women, children, and cattle, with the sea before them, and the mighty armies of Egypt pressing behind—had seen their path opened through the waters and their enemies overwhelmed in the moment of expected triumph. Jehovah alone had brought them deliverance, and to Him their hearts were turned in gratitude and faith. Their emotion found utterance in songs of praise. The Spirit of God rested upon Moses, and he led the people in a triumphant anthem of thanksgiving, the earliest and one of the most sublime that are known to man. . . .

“That song does not belong to the Jewish people alone. It points forward to the destruction of all the foes of righteousness and the final victory of the Israel of God. The prophet of Patmos beholds the white-robed multitude that have ‘gotten the victory,’ standing on the ‘sea of glass mingled with fire,’ having ‘the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.’ (Revelation 15:2, 3). . . .” Conflict and Courage, 93.

5 What daily routine of sacrifices did the Lord require when they built the tabernacle? Exodus 29:38, 39.

NOTE: “Like the patriarchs of old, those who profess to love God should erect an altar to the Lord wherever they pitch their tent. . . . Fathers and mothers should often lift up their hearts to God in humble supplication for themselves and their children. Let the father, as priest of the household, lay upon the altar of God the morning and evening sacrifice, while the wife and children unite in prayer and praise. In such a household Jesus will love to tarry.

“Let the members of every family bear in mind that they are closely allied to heaven. The Lord has a special interest in the families of His children here below. Angels offer the smoke of the fragrant incense for the praying saints. Then in every family let prayer ascend to heaven both in the morning and at the cool sunset hour, in our behalf presenting before God the Saviour’s merits. Morning and evening the heavenly universe take notice of every praying household.” Child Guidance, 518, 519.

6 What was David’s attitude when he made a sacrifice to the Lord? 2 Samuel 24:18–24.

NOTE: “David feels convicted that he has committed a great sin against God. He sees his error, and humbles himself before God, confessing his great sin . . . .”

“God speaks to David, by His prophet, and bids him make atonement for his sin. David’s heart was in the work, and his repentance was accepted. The threshing floor of Araunah is offered him freely, where to build an altar unto the Lord; also cattle, and everything needful for the sacrifice. But David tells him who would make this generous offering, that the Lord will accept the sacrifice which he is willing to make, but that he would not come before the Lord with an offering which cost him nothing. He would buy it of him for full price. He offered there burnt-offerings and peace-offerings. God accepted the offerings by answering David in sending fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 385, 386.

7 What is more important than sacrifice? Micah 6:6–8; 1 Samuel 15:22.

NOTE: “In all the details of life the strictest principles of honesty are to be maintained. . . . Deviation from perfect fairness in business deal[s] may appear as a small thing in the estimation of some, but our Saviour did not thus regard it. His words on this point are plain and explicit: ‘He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.’ A man who will overreach his neighbor on a small scale will overreach in a larger scale if the temptation is brought to bear upon him. A false representation in a small matter is as much dishonesty in the sight of God as falsity in a larger matter.

“Honesty should stamp every action of our lives. Heavenly angels examine the work that is put into our hands; and where there has been a departure from the principles of truth, ‘wanting’ is written in the records.” Child Guidance, 154, 155.

8 What kind of a sacrifice is the Lord asking us to give? Romans 12:1, 2.

NOTE: “As the truth is brought into practical life, the standard is to be elevated higher and higher, to meet the requirements of the Bible. This will necessitate opposition to the fashions, customs, practices, and maxims of the world. Worldly influences, like the waves of the sea, beat against the followers of Christ to sweep them away from the true principles of the meekness and grace of Christ; but they are to stand as firm as a rock to principle. It will require moral courage to do this, and those whose souls are not riveted to the eternal Rock, will be swept away by the worldly current. We can stand firm only as our life is hid with Christ in God. Moral independence will be wholly in place when opposing the world. By conforming entirely to the will of God, we shall be placed upon vantage ground, and shall see the necessity of decided separation from the customs and practices of the world. We are not to elevate our standard just a little above the world’s standard; but we are to make the line of demarcation decidedly apparent.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 288, 289.

9 What sacrifice was made for our salvation? Isaiah 53:2–10.

NOTE: “Had silver and gold been sufficient to purchase the salvation of men, how easily might it have been accomplished by Him who says, ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine.’ Haggai 2:8. But only by the precious blood of the Son of God could the transgressor be redeemed. The plan of salvation was laid in sacrifice. The apostle Paul wrote, ‘Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.’ 11 Corinthians 8:9. Christ gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity. And as the crowning blessing of salvation, ‘the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Romans 6:23.” The Acts of the Apostles, 519.

10 What did Jesus ask us to sacrifice? Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23.

NOTE: “In His lessons of instruction to His disciples, Jesus taught them that His kingdom is not a worldly kingdom, where all are striving for the highest position; but He gave them lessons in humility and self-sacrifice for the good of others. His humility did not consist in a low estimate of His own character and qualifications, but in adapting Himself to fallen humanity, in order to raise them up with Him to a higher life. Yet how few see anything attractive in the humility of Christ! Worldlings are constantly striving to exalt themselves one above another; but Jesus, the Son of God, humbled Himself in order to uplift man. The true disciple of Christ will follow His example.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 78.

11 Who is the Lord going to be looking for in His Kingdom? Psalm 50:5.

NOTE: “We must be partakers of Christ’s sufferings here, if we would share in His glory hereafter. If we seek our own interest, how we can best please ourselves, instead of seeking to please God and advance His precious, suffering cause, we shall dishonor God and the holy cause we profess to love. We have but a little space of time left in which to work for God. Nothing should be too dear to sacrifice for the salvation of the scattered and torn flock of Jesus. Those who make a covenant with God by sacrifice now, will soon be gathered home to share a rich reward, and possess the new kingdom forever and ever.” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 104.

Bible Study Guides – Impossibilities Made Possible

April 28- May 4, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee.” Jeremiah 32:17. “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27.

INTRODUCTION: “God has thrust His people into the gap, to make up the hedge, to raise up the foundation of many generations. The heavenly intelligences, angels that excel in strength, are waiting, obedient to His command, to unite with human agencies, and the Lord will interpose when matters have come to such a pass that none but a divine power can counteract the satanic agencies at work. When His people shall be in the greatest danger, seemingly unable to stand against the power of Satan, God will work in their behalf.

Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.

“Now is the time when the loyal and true are to arise and shine; for the glory of the Lord is risen upon them. It is no time now to hide our colors, no time to turn traitors when the battle presses sore, no time to lay aside our weapons of warfare. Watchmen on the walls of Zion must be wide awake.

“I am so thankful at this time that we can have our minds taken off from the difficulties that surround us, and the oppression that is to come upon the people of God, and can look up to the heaven of light and power. If we place ourselves on the side of God, of Christ and the heavenly intelligences, the broad shield of Omnipotence is over us, the mighty God of Israel is our helper, and we need not fear. Those who touch the people of God, touch the apple of His eye.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 2, 903.

1 How was God’s plan carried out in the life of Abraham? Genesis 18:10–12; 21:1–3; Romans 4:19–21.

NOTE: “For the pardon of sin, for the Holy Spirit, for a Christlike temper, for wisdom and strength to do His work, for any gift He has promised, we may ask; then we are to believe that we receive, and return thanks to God that we have received.

“We need look for no outward evidence of the blessing. The gift is in the promise, and we may go about our work assured that what God has promised He is able to perform, and that the gift, which we already possess, will be realized when we need it most.” Education, 258.

2 What did God tell Moses when He called him? Exodus 4:11, 12.

NOTE: “Moses heard the call from heaven to exchange his shepherd’s crook for the rod of authority; to leave his flock of sheep and take the leadership of Israel. The divine command found him self-distrustful, slow of speech, and timid. He was overwhelmed with a sense of his incapacity to be a mouthpiece for God. But he accepted the work, putting his whole trust in the Lord. The greatness of his mission called into exercise the best powers of his mind. God blessed his ready obedience, and he became eloquent, hopeful, self-possessed, fitted for the greatest work ever given to man.” The Ministry of Healing, 475.

3 What lessons can we learn from the Red Sea experience? Exodus 14:21–23.

NOTE: “Many look back to the Israelites, and marvel at their unbelief and murmuring, feeling that they themselves would not have been so ungrateful; but when their faith is tested, even by little trials, they manifest no more faith or patience than did ancient Israel. . . . The history of the wilderness life of Israel was chronicled for the benefit of the Israel of God to the close of time. The record of God’s dealing with the wanderers of the desert in all their marchings to and fro, in their exposure to hunger, thirst, and weariness, and in the striking manifestations of His power for their relief, is fraught with warning and instruction for His people in all ages. The varied experience of the Hebrews was a school of preparation for their promised home in Canaan. God would have His people in these days review with a humble heart and teachable spirit the trials through which ancient Israel passed, that they may be instructed in their preparation for the heavenly Canaan.” Conflict and Courage, 94.

4 Who brought down the walls of Jericho? Joshua 6:1–5, 20, 21.

NOTE: “At the taking of Jericho the mighty General of armies planned the battle in such simplicity that no human being could take the glory to himself. No human hand must cast down the walls of the city, lest man should take to himself the glory of victory. So today no human being is to take to himself glory for the work he accomplishes. The Lord alone is to be magnified. Oh, that men would see the necessity for looking to God for their orders! . . .

“God has promised us all power; for the promise is unto you and your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

“There must be continual faith and trust in the Captain of our salvation. We must obey His orders. The walls of Jericho came down as a result of obeying orders.” Conflict and Courage, 118.

5 How were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego delivered from the fiery furnace? Daniel 3:14–25.

NOTE: “He who walked with the Hebrew worthies in the fiery furnace will be with His followers wherever they are. His abiding presence will comfort and sustain. In the midst of the time of trouble—trouble such as has not been since there was a nation—His chosen ones will stand unmoved. Satan with all the hosts of evil cannot destroy the weakest of God’s saints. Angels that excel in strength will protect them, and in their behalf Jehovah will reveal Himself as a ‘God of gods,’ able to save to the uttermost those who have put their trust in Him.” Conflict and Courage, 252.

6 What caused Zacharias to doubt the angel’s message? Luke 1:6, 7, 11–13, 18, 19.

NOTE: “Those who humbly and prayerfully search the Scriptures, to know and to do God’s will, will not be in doubt of their obligations to God. For ‘if any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.’ [John 7:17.] If you would know the mystery of godliness, you must follow the plain word of truth,— feeling or no feeling, emotion or no emotion. Obedience must be rendered from a sense of principle, and the right must be pursued under all circumstances. This is the character that is elected of God unto salvation. The test of a genuine Christian is given in the word of God.” Christian Education, 117, 118.

7 What did the angel declare to Mary? Luke 1:37.

NOTE: “The work of building up the kingdom of Christ will go forward, though to all appearance it moves slowly and impossibilities seem to testify against advance. The work is of God, and He will furnish means, and will send helpers, true, earnest disciples, whose hands also will be filled with food for the starving multitude. God is not unmindful of those who labor in love to give the word of life to perishing souls, who in their turn reach forth their hands for food for other hungry souls.” The Desire of Ages, 370.

“Go forward. God will work with great power if you will walk in all humility of mind before Him. It is not faith to talk of impossibilities. Nothing is impossible with God. The light of the binding claims of the law of God is to test and prove the world. . . .” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White (1915), 209.

8 What promise did Jesus make to the Disciples, as well as to us? Matthew 24:14.

NOTE: “Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of the Saviour shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim His own. It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten, the coming of our Lord. Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel! Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come..” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 324.

“Our work has been marked out for us by our heavenly Father. We are to take our Bibles, and go forth to warn the world. We are to be God’s helping hands in saving souls—channels through which His love is day by day to flow to the perishing.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 150.

9 What happened to Peter when he boldly witnessed for Jesus, and how was He delivered? Acts 12:4, 5, 7–11.

NOTE: “Remembering the former escape of the apostles from prison, Herod on this occasion had taken double precautions. To prevent all possibility of release, Peter had been put under the charge of sixteen soldiers, who, in different watches, guarded him day and night. In his cell he was placed between two soldiers and was bound by two chains, each chain being fastened to the wrist of one of the soldiers. He was unable to move without their knowledge. With the prison doors securely fastened, and a strong guard before them, all chance of rescue or escape through human means was cut off. But man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.

“Peter was confined in a rock-hewn cell, the doors of which were strongly bolted and barred; and the soldiers on guard were made answerable for the safekeeping of the prisoner. But the bolts and bars and the Roman guard, which effectually cut off all possibility of human aid, were but to make more complete the triumph of God in the deliverance of Peter. Herod was lifting his hand against Omnipotence, and he was to be utterly defeated.” The Acts of the Apostles, 145, 146.

10 How were Paul and Silas delivered from prison? Acts 16:19–31.

NOTE: “The apostles counted not their lives dear unto themselves, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ. Paul and Silas suffered the loss of all things. They suffered scourging, and were in no gentle manner thrown upon the cold floor of a dungeon in a most painful position, their feet elevated and fastened in the stocks. Did repinings and complaints then reach the ear of the jailer? Oh, no! From the inner prison, voices broke the silence of midnight with songs of joy and praise to God. These disciples were cheered by a deep and earnest love for the cause of their Redeemer, for which they suffered.

“As the truth of God fills our hearts, absorbs our affections, and controls our lives, we also will count it joy to suffer for the truth’s sake. No prison walls, no martyr’s stake, can then daunt or hinder us in the great work.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 406, 407.

11 What humanly impossible event is promised to us? 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18.

NOTE: “The resurrection of Jesus was a type of the final resurrection of all who sleep in Him. The countenance of the risen Saviour, His manner, His speech, were all familiar to His disciples. As Jesus arose from the dead, so those who sleep in Him are to rise again. We shall know our friends, even as the disciples knew Jesus. They may have been deformed, diseased, or disfigured, in this mortal life, and they rise in perfect health and symmetry; yet in the glorified body their identity will be perfectly preserved. Then shall we know even as also we are known. 1 Corinthians 13:12. In the face radiant with the light shining from the face of Jesus, we shall recognize the lineaments of those we love.” The Desire of Ages, 804.

12 What promises are given to God’s people? Isaiah 41:10; 49:15, 16; Matthew 28:20.

NOTE: “How often those who trusted the word of God, though in themselves utterly helpless, have withstood the power of the whole world—Enoch, pure in heart, holy in life, holding fast his faith in the triumph of righteousness against a corrupt and scoffing generation; Noah and his household against the men of his time, men of the greatest physical and mental strength and the most debased in morals; the children of Israel at the Red Sea, a helpless, terrified multitude of slaves, against the mightiest army of the mightiest nation on the globe; David, a shepherd lad, having God’s promise of the throne, against Saul, the established monarch, bent on holding fast his power; Shadrach and his companions in the fire, and Nebuchadnezzar on the throne; Daniel among the lions, his enemies in the high places of the kingdom; Jesus on the cross, and the Jewish priests and rulers forcing even the Roman governor to work their will; Paul in chains led to a criminal’s death, Nero the despot of a world empire.

“Such examples are not found in the Bible only. They abound in every record of human progress. The Vaudois and the Huguenots, Wycliffe and Huss, Jerome and Luther, Tyndale and Knox, Zinzendorf and Wesley, with multitudes of others have witnessed to the power of God’s word against human power and policy in support of evil. These are the world’s true nobility. This is its royal line. In this line the youth of today are called to take their places.” Conflict and Courage, 9.

Food for Life – Westphal’s Pickles

Withstanding Temptation

A few potent thoughts for this month from the little book “Confrontation” beginning with page 10: “Adam and Eve came forth from the hand of their Creator in the perfection of every physical, mental, and spiritual endowment. God planted for them a garden, and surrounded them with everything that was lovely and attractive to the eye, which their physical necessities required. This holy pair looked upon a world of unsurpassed loveliness and glory. A benevolent Creator had given them evidences of His goodness and love in providing them with fruits, vegetables, and grains, and in causing to grow out of the ground every variety of tree for usefulness and beauty.” [Emphasis supplied.]

Has the cost of your salvation ever entered your mind? “Satan followed Him [Christ] from infancy to childhood and from childhood to manhood, inventing means and ways to allure Him from His allegiance to God, and overcome Him with his subtle temptations. The unsullied purity of the childhood, youth, and manhood of Christ, which Satan could not taint, annoyed him exceedingly. All his darts and arrows of temptation fell harmless before the Son of God. And when he found that all his temptations prevailed nothing in moving Christ from the steadfast integrity, or in marring the spotless purity of the youthful Galilean, he was perplexed and enraged. He looked upon this youth as an enemy that he must dread and fear.

“That there should be One who walked the earth with moral power to withstand all his temptations, who resisted all his attractive bribes to allure Him to sin, and over whom he could obtain no advantage to separate from God, chafed and enraged his satanic majesty.” Ibid., 28.

Have you ever considered how much He endured for your sake and for mine? Look at our sins, the ones that so easily beset us—the common, little ordinary sins that will keep us out of Heaven unless we overcome them completely— like impatience, a harsh tongue, and gossiping. Even the smallest will bar our way to the mansions He has gone to prepare for us.

“When Christ bore the test of temptation upon the point of appetite, He did not stand in beautiful Eden, as did Adam, with the light and love of God seen in everything His eye rested upon; but He was in a barren, desolate wilderness, surrounded with wild beasts. Everything around Him was repulsive. With these surroundings, He fasted forty days and forty nights.” Ibid., 37.

“For forty days He ate and drank nothing. This made His suffering greater than anything which man would ever be called to endure.” Signs of the Times, August 7, 1879.

In light of the shortness of time, does this not behoove us to watch more carefully everything we do and say, that we might give all the glory and honor to Him alone? Let us pray for one another that we will remain faithful until Jesus comes.

Recipe – Westphal’s Pickles

1 gallon distilled water

1 cup salt (ice cream or pickle salt)

Bring this to a boil until salt is well dissolved. Pack small fresh cucumbers tightly in a jar.


Add: 3–4 cloves of garlic

2–3 grape leaves

Fill jars with the boiling salt water and seal


Happy Cooking, Marjorie

Children’s Story – The Big Six

Bill pounced on his friend the minute he stepped into the yard. “Hi, Jack,” he said. “You got my test ready?” Bill’s face was red, and his heart was thumping like the bass drum in the school band. This was the day he had been waiting for.

The Big Six were about the best group of boys in Grant School. They had finally asked him to join them. Now, if he passed the “test” that the fellows had decided on, he would be a member in good standing of the Big Six.

Jack leaned lazily against the garage wall and grinned at him. “Sure, I’ve got your test ready, but let me give you a word of advice. Use your head, Bill. The test isn’t as easy as it sounds.”

“What do I have to do?” Bill gulped.

“See that basket?” Jack said as he pointed to a picnic basket swinging from the handlebars of his bike. “We’re going to Mrs. Barker’s house, down the street. You are to catch her small cat, Tiger, put him in the basket, and take him out on Willow Road and dump him.”

“Dump the cat?” Bill thought he had heard wrong.

“What did you think you would dump? The basket?” Jack frowned at him. “You’ve heard that old saying, ‘A cat always comes back,’ haven’t you? We want to prove it one way or the other today.”

Bill pedaled along to Mrs. Barker’s, feeling as if he were in a bad dream. He had thought of lots of tests, but nothing like this. Climbing a tree, or doing a lot of push-ups—that was the sort of test he’d been expecting.

Outside the neat, white fence that enclosed Mrs. Barker’s house and garden, Jack stopped and shoved the basket at Bill. “Go on,” he ordered. “You’re on your own now.”

With dragging feet, Bill crept along behind the tall bushes of lilacs that shut off the view of anyone in the house. When he reached the last clump of shrubbery, he was still several feet from the small, striped kitten. Tiger was curled up in a tight little ball under a big rose bush.

“Here, kitty, kitty,” he called softly, but in his heart he was begging the kitten to run away. Tiger pricked up his sharp black ears and stared at Bill with eyes as yellow as the roses on the bush over his head. He must have liked what he saw, for he began walking daintily across the grass to Bill.

Bill wiped the sweat from his forehead and groaned. His stomach felt sick. This little kitten would never find his way home from Willow Road! Never!

But if Bill failed his “test” the Big Six would ask some other boy to join them. He wouldn’t get to go camping with them next summer. He wouldn’t get to play in the big tree house in Jack’s backyard. Bill’s thoughts raced like the horses on a merry-go-round. With a quick grab he picked up Tiger and popped him into the basket. “Shame on you,” a little voice seemed to say. “That kitten trusted you.”

It was awfully still in the basket. Could Tiger be smothered? Bill pressed his ear to the side of the basket and listened. What he heard made him feel worse yet. The kitten was purring happily.

“Come on! Hurry up!” Jack was impatient.

Bill didn’t even answer. He lifted the lid of the basket and set Tiger gently on the grass. “I’d never have any fun with the Big Six, remembering what I had done to you,” he told the kitten.

Slowly Bill plodded out to the alley where Jack was waiting. What a day this had turned out to be!

“Why did you take the kitten out of the basket?” Jack asked, with a funny smile on his face.

Bill’s face burned with anger. “I don’t treat animals that way,” he shouted. “I don’t care if I did fail the test! I don’t want to belong to a group with boys like you in it!”

“Atta boy, Bill!” Jack began slapping him on the back. And then they were all there, all the members of the Big Six, tumbling out from behind the garage where they had been hiding.

“Good old Bill,” they were shouting. “We knew you’d pass the test!”

“What’s going on?” Bill asked. “I flunked the test, didn’t I?”

“You passed with flying colors,” Jack told him. “If you had taken the kitten, then you’d have failed! Don’t you remember my telling you to be sure to use your head?”

“You didn’t want me to dump Tiger?” Bill still couldn’t understand what had happened.

“Of course not,” said Jack. “If you had taken Tiger out of the yard, I would have taken him away from you and told you that you failed the test.”

Bill smiled slowly into the five faces beaming at him. He felt good. His friends were the kind of boys he had thought they were, and he had passed his test.

Restoring the Temple – Spring Fever

Ah, Spring. The newly formed flowers, the trees bursting with buds, the smell of freshly mowed grass. The sneezing, the post-nasal drip, the itching and watery eyes. In the United States, where we have four seasons, allergy season starts in the spring and can extend through the fall. In those regions where the only seasons are Wet and Hot, allergies may know no season. Certainly, the unfortunate among us also can have year-round allergies. Respiratory allergies, also called allergic rhinitis, cause 10 million trips to the doctor every year in America and are big business for pharmaceutical companies. Allergic rhinitis is caused by either environmental pollutants, such as smoke or fumes, or by seasonal conditions, including increased dust, pollens, and spores. Allergies have worsened in recent years; a trend that experts attribute to the massive growth of the petrochemical industry since World War 11. Many of the more than 50,000 chemical products produced worldwide cannot be properly broken down by the body, causing toxin accumulation.

Respiratory allergies, also called allergic rhinitis, are a response by the immune system to agents it perceives as dangerous. In some people, the immune system misreads the signals and responds to substances that are benign but that are perceived as harmful. These immune reactions involve an interaction between an allergen (the substance that induces the allergy) and a specific antibody that the immune system made. The intensity of an allergic reaction varies: the more antibodies present, the stronger the reaction. People can develop an allergy they have never had before after repeated exposure to something. An example of this is the latex allergy which has caused severe reactions in medical workers.

Why can some people relax in a field of daisies while others succumb to a sneezing fit when their coworker has a single rose on their desk? A famous poet once wrote, “Any nose / May ravage with impunity a rose.” For some, any rose may ravage a nose! Although there is a hereditary factor, other causes may exacerbate the condition. These causes may include excess mucous, waste accumulation, adrenal exhaustion, hypoglycemia, free radical damage, and stress. Excess mucous works against us by providing an environment which traps and harbors allergens and irritants and also provides a home in which bacteria can grow, causing a sinus infection which can be a complication of allergic rhinitis. The other causes work by lowering our defenses, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the immune system.

Over-the-counter allergy medications can sometimes make a person feel better temporarily, but they have side effects which can include severe drying of the mucous membranes, drowsiness, hyperactivity or agitation and should not be used by people who have high blood pressure. These medications can have a rebound effect—the more you use, the more you need. The medications that come in the form of nasal sprays or drops are addictive and can lead to mucous membrane damage. Some people who have severe allergies, have to use steroid medications to get relief, but these medications should not be used for long periods, because they can worsen the situation by suppressing the immune system and impeding allergen elimination. “Medicine deranges nature’s fine machinery, and breaks down the constitution. It kills, but never cures.” Healthful Living, 244.

The most beneficial factors in treating environmental allergies are avoiding the source, changing to a therapeutic diet, and keeping the “internal environment” cleansed. When possible, start treatment before the allergy season hits. For those whose allergies know no seasons, treatment can be started at any time. Begin with a three to seven day cleanse. A cleanse will prepare the body by helping to remove excess mucous which will release allergens and allow the next portions of the treatment to have optimal effect.

Make sure to drink lots of pure water. Water thins secretions and helps move foreign substances and toxins out of the body easier and more quickly.

Lifestyle Changes

As always, following the laws of health is an essential part of any treatment. Make sure you are getting adequate exercise. Couple exercise with deep breathing to increase oxygen saturation in your red blood cells. Exercise indoors on dry, windy days when pollen counts are higher. Weeds pollinate at sunrise and sunset as air currents turn over, and grasses pollinate between 6 and 10 a.m., so you may find that outdoor activities are best done in the early afternoon. If you have access to the Internet, there are several sites that have pollen counts for many regions. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology ( has a link to a national (U.S.) pollen count. Knowing the pollen count on a given day can help you decide on when and where to schedule outdoor activities.

Equally important to exercise is taking the time to rest and to get sufficient sleep. We know that stress can make us susceptible to illness, so it comes as no surprise that it is also a significant immune suppressor and can aggravate allergies. In The Place of Herbs in Rational Therapy, page four, Ellen White suggests the use of hops tea as a sleep aid. Relaxation is an activity that we all often wish for. Even David said; “Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.” Psalms 55:6. We concur!

If possible, invest in an air filtration unit. Turning on the air conditioning will also help filter out allergens indoors. You may want to drive with the windows up and the air conditioning on for the same reason. If you live in an area with high humidity, it will help to use a dehumidifier if you can. Wall to wall carpet makes a great home for dust mites, dust, and dander, so if you have trouble with allergies, you may want to consider using area rugs instead. It is, of course, essential not to smoke, but take care to also avoid second-hand smoke.


There are several supplements that are useful for allergic rhinitis prevention and maintenance. Some of the herbs include bee pollen and royal jelly (best when from bees in your particular region, if you can get it); gingko biloba, which helps to inactivate allergens; evening primrose oil; nettles, and eyebright. Quercitin, bromelain, CoQ10, vitamin C (preferably ester C), and B complex are also useful for allergy sufferers.

We must do our best to help ourselves on this earth, even though we will be bombarded continually by microscopic invaders. “But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the Lord your God giveth you to inherit, and when He giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety . . . ye shall rejoice before the lord your God” Deuteronomy 12:10. I look forward to lying in those heavenly daisy fields, don’t you?

Inspiration – The Bible Our Guide

Those who boast of wisdom beyond the teaching of the Word of God, need to drink deeper of the fountain of knowledge, that they may learn their real ignorance. Men boast of their wisdom, when it is foolishness in the sight of God. Let no man deceive himself. “If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; for it is written. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” The greatest ignorance that now curses the human race is ignorance of the binding claims of the Law of God; and this ignorance is the result of neglecting the study of the Word of God. It is Satan’s plan to so engage the mind that men shall neglect the great Guide Book, and thus be led into the path of transgression and destruction.

The Bible is not exalted to its rightful place among the books of the world, although its study is of infinite importance to the souls of men. In searching its pages the imagination beholds scenes majestic and eternal. We behold Jesus, the Son of God, coming to our world, and engaging in the mysterious conflict that discomfited the powers of darkness. O how wonderful, how almost incredible it is, that the infinite God would consent to the humiliation of His own Son that we might be elevated to a place with Him upon His throne! Let every student of the Scriptures contemplate this great fact, and he will not come from a study of the Bible without being purified, elevated, and ennobled. The truth will be opened to the mind, and applied to the heart by the Spirit of God. (Through connection with God, the Christian will have clearer and broader views, unbiased by his own preconceived opinions. His discernment will be more penetrating, his faculties better balanced. His mind, exercised in the contemplation of exalted truths, will be expanded, and in obtaining heavenly knowledge he will better understand his own weakness, and will grow in faith and humility.) When there is little attention given to the Word of God, divine counsels are not heeded, admonitions are in vain, grace and heavenly wisdom are not sought that past sins may be avoided and every taint of corruption cleansed from the character. David prayed, “Make me to understand the way of Thy precepts; so shall I talk of Thy wonderful works. . . . Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.”

There is a great work to be done by the earnest Bible student; for gems of truth are to be gathered up, and separated from the companionship of error. Though the Bible is a revelation from heaven, yet many do not comprehend its divine teaching. We are to discover new aspects of truth in both the Old and the New Testament, to behold the exceeding breadth and compass of truths which we imagine we understand, but of which we have only a superficial knowledge. He who earnestly searches the Scriptures will see that harmony exists between the various parts of the Bible; he will discover the bearing of one passage upon another, and the reward of his toil will be exceedingly precious.

All over the field of revelation are scattered glad springs of heavenly truth, peace, and joy. These fountains of joy are within the reach of every seeker. The words of Inspiration, pondered in the heart, will be as living streams flowing from the river of the water of life. Our Saviour prayed that the mind of His followers might be opened to understand the Scriptures. Whenever we study the Bible with a prayerful heart, the Holy Spirit is near to open to us the meaning of the words we read. (The man whose mind is enlightened by the opening of God’s Word to his understanding, will not only feel that he must more diligently seek to understand that Word, but that he must have a better understanding of the sciences. He will feel that he is called to a high calling in Christ Jesus. The more closely connected man is with the Source of all knowledge and wisdom, the more he will feel that he must advance in intellectual and spiritual attainments. The opening of God’s Word is always followed by a remarkable opening and strengthening of man’s faculties; for the entrance of His words giveth light. By contemplation of great truths, the mind is elevated, the affections purified and refined; for the Spirit of God, through the truth of God, quickens the lifeless, spiritual faculties, and attracts the soul heavenward.)

Then take your Bible and present yourself before your Heavenly Father, saying, “Enlighten me; teach me what is truth.” The Lord will regard your prayer, and the Holy Spirit will impress the truth upon your soul. In searching the Scriptures for yourself, you will become established in the faith. It is of the greatest importance that you continually search the Scriptures, storing the mind with the truths of God. You may be separated from the companionship of Christians, and placed where you will not have the privilege of meeting with the children of God. You need the treasures of God’s Word hidden in your heart, that when opposition comes upon you, you may bring everything to the test of the Scriptures.

Truth is eternal, and conflict with error will only make manifest its strength. We should never refuse to examine the Scriptures with those who, we have reason to believe, desire to know what is truth as much as we do. Suppose a brother holds a view that differs from yours, and he comes to you, proposing that you sit down with him, and investigate that point in the light of the Scriptures; should you rise up filled with prejudice, and condemn his ideas while refusing to give him a hearing? The only right way would be to sit down as Christians and investigate the position presented, in the light of God’s Word, which will reveal truth and unmask error. To ridicule his ideas would not weaken his position, though it were false, or strengthen your position, though it were true. If the pillars of our faith will not stand the test of investigation, it is time that we knew it; for it is foolish to become set in our ideas, and think that no one should interfere with our opinions. Let everything be brought to the Bible; for it is the only rule of faith and doctrine.

We must study the truth for ourselves; no man should be relied upon to think for us, no matter who he may be or in what position he may be placed. We are not to look upon any man as a perfect guide for us. We are to counsel together, and be subject one to another; but at the same time we are to exercise the ability God has given us to learn what is truth. Each one of us must look to God for divine enlightenment, that we may individually develop a character that will stand the test of the great day.

We are living in the last days, when error of a most deceptive character is accepted and believed, while truth is discarded. Many are drifting into darkness and infidelity, picking flaws with the Bible, bringing up superstitious inventions, unscriptural theories, and speculations of vain philosophy; but it is the duty of every one to seek a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. The importance and benefit of Bible study cannot be overestimated. In searching the Scriptures our minds are led to dwell upon the infinite sacrifice of Christ, on His mediation in our behalf. As we see His love, as we meditate upon His humiliation and sufferings, the same spirit of self-denial and sacrifice for the good of others will be kindled in our hearts. As we behold Jesus by the eye of faith, we shall be “changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

The Bible Echo, October 15, 1892.

The Consecrated Way – Knowledge – Part II

We are continuing on in our series entitled, “The Consecrated Way,” which is really a climb up Peter’s ladder. 2 Peter 1:3–5 says, “According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.”

Gaining Knowledge

The second rung of Peter’s ladder, as we begin to reach toward heaven in our consecrated way, is knowledge. Last month we looked at the first rung of virtue, having been reinforced by faith. In the process of sanctified living there needs to be a continual process. One of the greatest dangers that Christians face is to reach a point in life where there is a sense of self-satisfaction—a sense of having arrived.

We see this even manifested in certain church doctrines, such as once saved always saved. Some churches teach that once you accept Jesus as your Saviour, that is all you need to do. But that is not correct, as far as the Bible is concerned. There is the walk. Indeed, there is the climb that takes place. Jesus addressed this in the Sermon on the Mount when He said that there is the narrow path. There is the uphill walk. He did not say that it was a broad road; He said it was a narrow, uphill path. (See Matthew 7:13, 14.)

That means that some effort needs to be put forth as we walk with Christ day by day, making those decisions that will establish us in the faith more than ever before. We need to walk in that respect and never come to a point where we are self-satisfied in our process of Christian living.

Having All the Answers

It is not like the world in terms of achievements and education. In the world of education, we think when you have received your Ph.D. that you have arrived; there is no higher level of education that you can reach.

I met a man one time who had five doctorate degrees. I was studying with some people who felt they had to call in some reinforcements, and this was the man they called.

My Bible students felt that, because of his level of education, he could answer all the questions. He told me he had decided that maybe he would go for an M. D., because he did not have one of those. He was attending Loma Linda University at that time. He said, “Some people collect stamps; I collect sheepskins [degrees].”

Never Stop

When you reach that level, do you think you have finally arrived?

Dear people, as far as the Christian process is concerned, we never stop learning. It is a continual process, learning more and more all the time. Indeed, throughout all eternity we will learn. A lot of people have the idea that when we arrive in heaven there will be a cloud, a harp, and a halo, and we will just sit around all day eating from the Tree of Life.

No! God has a better plan than that. We will continue to research and to learn the intricacies and to probe the wonders that God has created for us. And each one of those will share something more about the great God that we serve. We will be learning throughout all eternity.

“Having received the faith of the gospel, the next work of the believer is to add to his character virtue, and thus cleanse the heart and prepare the mind for the reception of the knowledge of God. This knowledge is the foundation of all true education and of all true service. It is the only real safeguard against temptation; and it is this alone that can make one like God in character.” Acts of the Apostles, 530, 531.

Learning to Know Him

We have discovered, in the past, that it has been helpful for us to define our terms so we are able to see the intent of what Peter is saying to us in this passage of Scripture. We have an idea of what the word knowledge means, but let us define it a little more carefully.

The Dictionary of New Testament Words says that this word, used by Peter, has a greater meaning than to just know something. It means exact or full knowledge, discernment, recognition; a greater participation by the knower in the object known, thus more powerfully influencing him. Knowing that definition, it is not surprising that Peter used this word in illustrating the growth of the Christian in character perfection. To be satisfied with anything less than exact or full knowledge about spiritual things is a sin.

There are too many who are satisfied with only a superficial knowledge, either as it comes from the preacher or as it comes from some other person. They will depend upon someone like that for their knowledge about the truths of God, and they make that the foundation of their faith. Indeed, if that is the case, they have already gotten off the track.

The Bible says, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” John 17:17. That leaves no room for human speculation, as we find going around today. The devil is a deceiver. If you do not know that, I am telling you that he is a deceiver, and he has been trying, for years, to undermine those truths that have been established by God in His Word.

At this late date in earth’s history, we cannot afford to listen to what false knowledge is proclaiming—a knowledge that, when examined in the light of the Word of God and of the Spirit of Prophecy, only leaves us chaff and no grain.

The Attack of Evolution

One of the attacks, one of the inroads that is being made against the Bible today is evolution. It has been sounding for a long, long time, but it is reaching a crescendo.

Evolutionists say man has been on this earth three million years plus, and that the universe is the result of a big bang. We find that these concepts of evolution are designed, by the deceiver of our souls, for only one reason: to strike right at the very heart of the Ten Commandment moral law—the Sabbath. Because if the earth took long eons of time to be created and to come into being, then what need is there of the Sabbath as the memorial of the rest that God took when it was all finished at the end of six days? We need to be very careful that we are not listening to the serpent, as did Eve, when we hear something that does not match up with the Word of God.

God’s Word is True

We can know that God’s Word is true, through prophecy, which establishes it without question. We can depend upon it. When we hear something strange that does not match up, we need to flee from it. The highest and supreme end of all knowledge, of course, is the knowledge of God and of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, in John 17:3, “This is life eternal.” Evolution does not promise that. God’s Word does.

“This is life eternal,” Jesus said, “that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” The prophet Jeremiah declares, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23, 24. It appears to me that these are the things that we need to know.

In the book Ministry of Healing, 409, we are told, “Like our Saviour, we are in this world to do service for God. We are here to become like God in character, and by a life of service to reveal Him to the world. In order to be co-workers with God, in order to become like Him and to reveal His character, we must know Him aright. We must know Him as He reveals Himself.”

God’s Character Attributes

Going back to what we just read from Jeremiah, if we are to glory in anything, we should glory in the fact that knowing God is knowing His character attributes and those which He outlines are very specific here. Knowledge, the second rung of this ladder, is to lead us to know these character attributes of God: loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness.

I believe if there is anyone whom we could trust to tell us about the loving kindness of God, it would be the apostle John. John was called the beloved disciple, and he tells us in 1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” If you do not love, you do not know God, but if you love, then you know God. “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” Verses 8–11.

That is pretty good counsel, don’t you think? This is the process of character development—learning about God, and then putting that knowledge into operation as we live day by day. You see, knowledge cannot be all theoretical. It also has to be practical. There is a great difference between the two.

Learning is not Knowing

A person who has theoretical knowledge has only heard or read or studied, but that is as far as it goes. We call them “armchair theologians.” To give a little clearer illustration of the theoretical, we could consider learning how to bake a loaf of bread, perhaps in a cooking class.

We can learn about all the different measurements of ingredients, about what a teaspoon is, a tablespoon, and a cup. We can learn about all the ingredients, whether the flour is bleached or whether it is whole grain. We can learn about the stove, about the manufacturer, and about the temperature settings. We can learn how to use the stove, and yet never bake a loaf of bread.

What profit is there in all of this? Absolutely nothing! Knowledge only becomes useful as it is put into operation, into practical use. You need to take the ingredients down off the shelf. You need to turn the stove to the proper temperature; you need to mix those ingredients together in the proper amounts; put it into the oven, and then you have results that are beneficial, not only to you, but to others as well.

All too often those who call themselves Christians today do not put their knowledge into practice. They still have the ingredients on the shelf. It does absolutely no good for them, or for others, to know that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16), unless we are taking that knowledge, utilizing it in our own life, and sharing it with others, sharing the loving kindness of God with those who do not know it. That is where real value is found.

Use It or Lose It

Knowledge becomes like manna that fell in the wilderness. If it was laid up, not used, it began to stink and to breed worms. Kind of an awesome thought when you think about knowledge that is not put into practice; it is totally useless! What am I saying in all of this? Just this, God expects something from you. He expects you to learn; He expects you to develop a knowledge of Him—that He is a God of love. And then He expects you to share that love with other people, following the example of the Lord Jesus Christ when He was on this earth.

“Taking humanity upon Him, Christ came to be one with humanity, and at the same time to reveal our heavenly Father to sinful human beings. He who had been in the presence of the Father from the beginning, He who was the express image of the invisible God, was alone able to reveal the character of the Deity to mankind. He was in all things made like unto His brethren. He became flesh even as we are. . . . He shared the lot of men; yet He was the blameless Son of God. He was a stranger and sojourner on the earth—in the world, but not of the world; tempted and tried as men and women today are tempted and tried, yet living a life free from sin. Tender, compassionate, sympathetic, ever considerate of others, He represented the character of God, and was constantly engaged in service for God and man.” The Ministry of Healing, 422, 423. To engage in service is really to put into practical operation the knowledge that we learn.

A True Court of Justice

Another aspect, concerning the knowledge of God that Jeremiah talks about, is judgment. Psalm 9:16 says that “The Lord is known by the judgment which He executeth.” Revelation 16:7 says that the judgments of God are true and righteous.

Do you not wish that could be said of the courts of the land today? Part of the process of knowledge, concerning the great God of heaven, is that we know that He is the God who judges with equality. He is no respecter of persons, and we see this in the life of Jesus when He was here on this earth. He was not impressed with one person over another, like we are, so often, today.

He dealt fairly with everybody, Jew and Gentile. If we add to our faith virtue, and to our virtue knowledge, it is going to lead us to judge fairly among our fellow human beings, just as Jesus did, because we are learning of Him. If we are learning of Him, we are going to become like Him, for by beholding we will indeed become changed. (See 2 Corinthians 3:18.)

People will be blessed by our lives, because they will know that we have been with God. One of the great tragedies of Christianity is that there are those who say one thing, they have all the theory, but they do something different. There are probably more people who will be shut out of heaven because of this one factor than anything else.

Self-deceived Christians

I am sure you have all heard someone say, “Oh, I know about Christians. Do not get involved with them; they will rip you off every time.” I suppose we all have known people who have represented that kind of life. Then you could multiply that by the hundreds of people whom they have driven away from Christ because of it. What a terrible tragedy that is!

It is a double tragedy! Do you know why it is a double tragedy? There is a tragedy on both sides, not only for the perpetrator but for the one who has been perpetrated upon. The one who is the perpetrator is self-deceived. He does not have knowledge. He has an armchair knowledge; he does not understand what it means to be honest and true in all his dealings. And for the person who has suffered at his hands, it is a tragedy, because it becomes even more difficult for God to reach his heart again. It is like putting a steel band around the heart so that it cannot be penetrated. What a sad thing that is.

Are Christians perfect? No, they have their failings, but when people purport one thing while stabbing you in the back, that is quite another thing. I think we need to realize that we all are subject to failing. We need to behold Jesus, because by beholding Jesus we become changed, and we do not get involved in situations where judgment is perverted; where situations are taken advantage of; where discrimination is taking place and oppression is being exercised.

We are still faced with these problems today, and we need to get beyond that. God never perverts judgment. He does not say one thing and do another. His theory and His practice are always the same, and He expects that of every one of us. If we are learning of Him, if we are adding the only knowledge that is worthwhile, then our theory and our practice are going to match His.

The Righteousness of Christ

The last area to consider is our understanding of the knowledge of Christ’s righteousness. No knowledge of God would ever be complete without that part which reveals the righteousness of Jesus Christ, for it is the righteousness of Christ which is able to save man. It is the righteousness of Christ which can give power to stem the tide of evil that wants to flood over the life. It is the righteousness of Christ which can make a sinner acceptable to God, and it is the righteousness of Christ which fits us for a place at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

It is only the righteousness of Christ which, when properly understood, brings us to understand the law and the gospel. How thankful I am for the Spirit of Prophecy which has been given to us to convey the proper concept of the righteousness of Christ. These words of inspiration help us define those special areas of potential problems that we will be facing in the last days of this earth’s history.

There are those who, again, are trying to tear down this gift, trying to get it out of the church, supposing that somehow the philosophy of man can replace the words of inspiration with something better. But woe to the one who falls for such deceitful flatteries as this. You see, without the knowledge of the righteousness of Christ, in its full meaning, as it has been given through the words of inspiration, we are in trouble.

There is no such thing as once saved, always saved. There is no such thing as accepting Jesus and that is all you have to do. “The knowledge of God as revealed in Christ is the knowledge that all who are saved must have. It is the knowledge that works transformation of character.” The Ministry of Healing, 425. How important is knowledge? Knowledge is tremendously important, because it is the grease on the wheel that transforms our character, as it were.

Ignorance is Not Bliss

If you do not know, you are not going to do. It is just as simple as that. There are people who have the philosophy that ignorance is bliss, but the time is coming when bliss is going to burn awfully hot. Ignorance is not bliss! Ignorance will lead you straight to hell fire, because you will have a character that will not be fit for heaven.

The knowledge of God received, will recreate the soul in the image of God. It will impart to the whole being a spiritual power that is divine. Does this sound something like what Peter wrote? It gets awfully close, does it not? That is what righteousness is; it is spiritual power that is divine. We need it; we desire it; we seek for it, and indeed, the promise is, we shall find it.

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.” 2 Peter 1:4, 5.

This, dear people, is the ladder that God has called us to climb. It is a ladder where each rung, as we place our foot upon it, has transforming divine power to take the character that we possess and change it, modify it more and more and more, until we reflect the character of Christ in our lives.

May the Lord challenge us. May the Lord continue to bless us, as we climb that ladder.

To be continued . . .

The Seed – Part I

Jesus talked a lot about seeds, and in this article, we will look at seeds, especially The Seed.

Jesus tells all humanity what their priority in this life should be. Jesus says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.” Matthew 6:33. That should be the priority of every human being on the face of this earth, an earth that has been in turmoil and trouble for 6,000 years, because of sin.

Setting Priorities

Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.” We must have both. We must have His righteousness in order to some day enter into His kingdom.

God says, Put that at the top of the list every day, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.” It is the priority that God wants for us. We make out lists all the time. My wife is well known for lists. She will make lists, and the first thing on a list is the priority. She works herself down the list, and if the last things do not happen, it is all right.

I want to look with you at the first thing, the top of the list. That is what Jesus is saying: I want you to put this on the top of the list, Seek ye first the kingdom of God. It is a wonderful thing to be able to study the Word of God and see harmony coming through. That harmony is the result of divine Providence guiding in producing the Holy Bible. It is a tremendous work of God. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were seeking the kingdom of God. “And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo, here! Or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20, 21.

Seeking the Kingdom of God

The Children of Israel in Jesus’ day, even in the midst of their apostasy, were seeking the kingdom of God, but they were looking in a direction other than God would have them look. They wanted something they could see, something they could feel, something with substance. They were looking for a physical kingdom on this earth. Jesus told them the kingdom of God was within them, and they did not want to hear that. It was totally opposite of the theology of the day.

Have you ever heard theology that is totally contrary to the Word of God? It is all around us in Christendom today. It was all around them in Jesus’ day also. God was revealing His kingdom in their midst, but they did not see it.

In John, we find an interview that Jesus had with one of the leaders of Israel. His name, we are told, was Nicodemus. He came to Jesus by night, because he did not want his peers to see him with Jesus. Jesus was not a popular figure, and interestingly enough, Jesus has never been a popular figure, even though it appears that He is, because He makes known the truth to people. Jesus spoke these words to Nicodemus, words that reveal what is necessary in regard to the kingdom of God.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3.

Jesus now said, Unless you are born again, you cannot even see the kingdom of God, let alone be in it. What did Jesus mean when He said be “born again?” What is the inference? Here is a mature man standing before Him, a man who was already born.

Putting on a New Nature

What is He telling Nicodemus? He is saying, You must have a whole new nature, before you are able to see the kingdom of God. Why is that necessary? God makes it very clear.

God uses Paul the apostle to tell us why it is necessary, and He is not just talking to the Jews. He is telling the Jews and the Gentiles—all humanity—why it is necessary to be born again.

“You hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Ephesians 2:1–3.

You and I come into this world as every human being has since the fall of Adam, with a fallen nature, a nature that is not in harmony with God’s kingdom. It is totally out of harmony with His righteousness, and if we choose to retain that nature, God has left on record the consequence: “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. That is not merely physical death; it is not being physically laid out in a cemetery because you died.

No, God is making it clear that there is a second death, a total extinction of life where you will never again be, and you will be as though you never were. So God says, in His mercy and in His compassion to all of us, You need to be born again. You need to have a new nature before you are able to even see My kingdom.

God says it even more clearly in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10. He tells us why this nature, that is based on the flesh and not on the Spirit of God, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. He uses Paul again to make the issues clear to us. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?”

What does it mean to be unrighteous? Paul defines unrighteousness: “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” It is just not going to happen. God does not want us in that context, but He does want us in His kingdom. For God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.

Being Born Again

Let us go back to Nicodemus’ response. He said, Wait a minute! How can a man that is old, be born again? And that is the question that we need to ask. How is it that we can be born again?

There is a lot of theology in Christendom today that will give you an answer, but it is not in harmony with God’s Word. They are dealing with being born again on an outward basis—what they can see, what they can feel, what they can do. What did Jesus tell the Pharisees when they demanded to know when the kingdom of God should come?

He pointed them to within themselves. If it happens at all, it is going to happen within you. To understand what it means to be born again, look at the first parable regarding seeds. When Jesus was growing up, before He left home to begin His ministry at the age of 30, He spent time in a garden. He planted seeds just like we do. He learned lessons from His experience in the garden, and that is why He shares with us these parables.

The Seed—The Power

“He said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?” He looked around in the society of men, in the nations, and in the kingdoms of men and He could find no comparison whatsoever. He could only find a comparison in the garden. “It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.” Mark 4:30–32. How small God’s kingdom has appeared to men in 6,000 years.

God tells us, in His Word, there will only be one kingdom. (See Daniel 2.) So this small beginning is going to eventually encompass the whole world with people who have been born again. With what does He compare the kingdom of God? A little seed that looks like nothing could ever grow from it.

“There is life in the seed, there is power in the soil; but unless an infinite power is exercised day and night, the seed will yield no returns. The showers of rain must be sent to give moisture to the thirsty fields, the sun must impart heat, the electricity must be conveyed to the buried seed. The life, which the Creator has implanted, He alone can call forth. Every seed grows, every plant develops, by the power of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 63.

This does not happen apart from God in the physical world. When you plant that cucumber seed and the plant eventually emerges out of the ground and produces cucumbers, it is the direct result of God’s work.

Directly From God

Let us look at the parable in verses 26, 27 of Mark 4: “And He said, ‘So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.’” So what power produces the germination of that seed? It is God’s power.

Notice: “The germ in the seed grows by the unfolding of the life-principle which God has implanted. Its development depends upon no human power.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 77. If it grows, it grows as a result of God and of His power and of His intercession. It is His sun that shines warmth down. It is His water or rain that waters that plant. It is His air, that He has created for life, that gives life to that seed. All the three essentials are directly from God.

Are we talking about growing seeds in the garden, or are we talking about being born again? Are they synonymous?

“So it is with the kingdom of Christ. It is a new creation.” Ibid. This was not something hidden, before the days of Christ, from the Children of Israel. This was known to Nicodemus; it was not anything new. “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6.

It is My Spirit, My power that gives life, God says. It is only His power that can bring a new nature out of a fallen nature.

The Blessing of the Seed

Jesus tells us clearly that the seed is able to produce a new creation, acceptable in the kingdom of God. “Now the parable is this: [Jesus says] The seed is the word of God.” Luke 8:11. We hold the seed each time we hold our Bibles. God’s seed catalog describes the seed, describes what it will do, and also contains the seeds! The whole package is there. No mail order is necessary. He sent it to us. It was not even C.O.D.!

I want you to notice something very interesting. The seed that God has given to us, in this natural world, is most powerful. It has various abilities:

  1. A seed can produce a living thing. That little, dormant seed looks dead, but it can produce a living thing. It can produce a new creation. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
  2. Every seed that germinates, eventually grows up, and it also grows down. There is a balance in everything that God does. Working the kingdom of God in us, He works a balance. It will be inside first, within us, but it will eventually be seen outside in what we do, in the kind of person we are. Some drunk, in the gutter, who found a piece of the Word of God, or was invited to a mission to hear the Word of God, was changed completely. Were you to see that man a month later, you would not recognize that he was the same man. Why? Because he had allowed God to do something on the inside that eventually was revealed on the outside. Do you see that? The seed germinates down, puts its roots down, and the plant goes up. It is an inside/outside work that God wants to do, a balanced work.
  3. This seed can reproduce its own kind. It can produce a new life, but more than that, it can reproduce itself. A cucumber seed will reproduce itself. And interestingly enough, it will not reproduce anything else but its own kind.
  4. It can grow thousands of times its size in its lifetime. It is going to germinate. It is going to bear; it is going to bring up a blade, then the ear and then the full corn in the ear. It continues to grow and develop. Have you ever heard of indeterminate plants, especially among tomatoes? They just keep growing. This seed can actually reproduce itself thousands of times its size. A redwood tree seed is small, yet it produces a tree hundreds of feet in the air and many times around in diameter. Tremendous growth! God tells us our potential character development is limitless in regard to becoming more and more like Him. If we choose to receive the kingdom of God within us, by receiving the seed, which is the Word of God, our potential character development is limitless. We can grow and grow and never stop.
  5. The seed can produce roots that are actually powerful enough to break through rock, granite, anything. In the natural world, it is true. Brothers and sisters, it is also true in the spiritual world. This Word, allowed to have good ground, can make us more powerful than sin. It can give us power over sin, power over the great deceiver, and power over everything that is contrary to God. This seed has the power to do that!

I want you to notice that as it is in the physical, so it is in the spiritual. The three essential ingredients for a physical seed to grow, and which come only from God, are sunlight, water, and air.

You have sunshine—the righteousness of Christ, in the spiritual. You have water—the Spirit of God. Water is the latter rain, the former rain, the Spirit of God. And you have air—the grace of God. In Steps to Christ, 68, we are told that His grace encircles this earth just as much as the air we breathe.

What Can I Contribute?

They all come from God, in regards to the physical and to the spiritual. Those are necessary items for the growth of the seed. There is one more thing that is necessary however, if the seed is going to germinate, grow, and develop into a plant that bears fruit. God has not yet told us about this, and it has to do with you and me.

Jesus talks about seeds again in another parable. (See Matthew 13.) It is about a sower who went out and cast seed here and there. As he was sowing, some of the seed fell by the wayside. The wayside was a path that was trampled upon; people walked on it all the time. Seed fell there, and the birds came and took it away before it had time to do anything.

The second place the seed fell was on stony ground, on the rocks. The seed had enough soil to be able to germinate, to root down, to pop up, but when it got hot, the roots were not deep enough; the plant fell over and withered. It needed water, and it needed removal of stones to get the heat away from it.

The third place that the seed fell was into a bunch of thorns. You never want to plant a garden where there is a bunch of weeds. You want to take the weeds out and then plant the garden. But here you have seed falling in the midst of thorns, or weeds, and eventually being choked out. Even though two or three seeds germinated and grew, none of them lived. That should alarm us.

Another thing that should alarm us is where this is taking place. Where do people go to hear the Word of God spoken? In the church. This is not being spoken of in the world. Jesus is referring to those who would hear the Word of God, as His professed people, in His house. That should alarm us, because if it is true, if you took this literally, the percentage of those who respond correctly to the Word of God and have the kingdom of God growing within them is only 25 percent. That means that 75 percent reject it.

Should that alarm me sitting in a church? Oh, yes, it should cause me to examine myself, whether I am receiving the Word of God or whether I am just hearing it.

There is one thing the seed needs, which God does not give. If it does not have this, the seed will not germinate; it will not grow. “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” Luke 8:15. Jesus does not speak, in this parable, about the sunshine, the water, and the air. Why? Because He knows that His heavenly Father will supply that to the seed. But for us to grow, it is necessary to have good ground. Having good ground is up to us. God has nothing to do with producing good ground or bad ground, thorny ground or stony ground. We have everything to do with the kind of ground into which God’s Word falls.

Jesus Gives the Answer

God wants to be practical. God wants us to understand what good ground is so we can produce good ground for the seed to grow and develop. Jesus gives us a clear representation of what it means to have good ground.

Revelation 3:20, helps us see what good ground means and what God is asking of us in regard to having good ground. “Behold,” Jesus says, “I stand at the door, and knock.” Where is He in regard to the door? When you are standing at a door and knocking, you are on the outside.

He is on the outside, but He is knocking, knocking that He might come inside. Remember, the kingdom of God begins within you, and the heavenly Gardener needs to be where the seed is, to allow that seed to develop and grow. So He is knocking, and He says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Jesus is saying, the good ground is the person who hears His voice and responds to the point of opening their heart to Him.

Faith Opens the Door

Here is where we get real practical. How do we open our hearts to God? If we ever have that experience, we should know that we have to exercise faith to open our heart to God, and faith is something that God gives as a gift to every man who comes into this world. (See Romans 12:3.)

Jesus said, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6. So faith opens the door! If we are going to be a consistent good-ground hearer, the door must remain open.

To be continued . . .